Political Leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) Ashworth Jack on Monday remembered economist and former parliamentarian Dr Morgan Job as an intellectual, a musician, a family man, and a competent human being.
Jack also recalled that Dr Job was an oft-maligned person.
“He was one of those persons who would have been maligned, misunderstood; you name the negatives and people said it and did it to Dr Job.
“This morning (Monday), I listened to the comments on a radio programme by the callers and I had to smile. I said, ‘imagine you have to die for people to understand your value.’ It reminds me very much of the former Prime Minister, former President, former Chairman of the Tobago House of Assembly (ANR Robinson), where even leaders in the Assembly sought to downplay his contributions to Tobago and when he died, you saw the same people doing everything in their power to jump on the bandwagon and gain as much mileage as possible,” he said.
“I am one of the people who continues to believe that Dr Job was totally misunderstood for someone who have offered so much. People became very personal with information that they really didn’t have, they kept referring to things that people would have said and that is one of the drawbacks with a small society, and Tobago in particular. People never really dig for the real information, they judge you based on what other people think,” he said.
“I think this country has lost a great asset…It tells you that we don’t seem to be able to understand the importance of information in a democracy and so instead of using information, we work on emotion. I want to admonish the younger generation to seek more information and less emotions especially in politics, it’s the only way we can move forward,” he added.
Also a writer and radio personality, Job died on Sunday, age 76, at the Port of Spain General hospital. He was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in late March. He leaves his two daughters, Dzifa, and Nzinga, to mourn.
Job was born on April 2, 1942, at Zion Hill, Belle Garden. His early education was at Belle Garden EC School; St Elizabeth’s College, Roxborough; Bishop’s High School, Scarborough, and Queen’s Royal College, Port-of-Spain.
In 1961, he was among the first students to enrol at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, the precursor institute to what is today the University of the West Indies (UWI). He furthered his studies at Guelph University, Canada, then received his doctorate in economics at Purdue University, Indiana.
As an economist, he worked in countries such as Tanzania and Brazil, and in 1978 he accepted a Rockefeller Foundation project to work in Kenya for a year as a research economist. On his return to Trinidad, Job worked at various State departments and was eventually appointed economic adviser to ANR Robinson in 1986. From 1991 to 1997 he was a lecturer at UWI. Job entered Parliament in May of 1997 as the Member for Tobago East, having won a by-election occasioned by ANR Robinson being elected president. During the Fifth Parliament, he served as minister of Tobago Affairs, and later as minister in the ministry of finance. He also acted in several ministerial capacities including minister of national security.
On Monday, Jack, a former Minority Leader in the THA, also called for leaders and past to be treated with respect and concern be paid to their wellbeing.
“… whether we agree with them, whether we like them or not, we must understand the sacrifice that they would have made, and we would be able to honour them for the sacrifice that they would have made.” he said.
Jack recalled that one of his mantras in the lead-up to the 2013 THA elections was on treating with leaders in Tobago.
“In a civilised democracy, we treat leaders or rather past leaders with a certain amount of respect. In Trinidad and Tobago, in this part of the world, a man is prime minister today and because he loses the election, he is treated as a nobody.
“I mean, how could we revere somebody one day and the next day we treat them as if they didn’t exist. That speaks to the quality of our democracy, it speaks to the quality of our maturity.
“I would like to see leaders as they come in to also understand that they would also become former leaders and set in motion a system that allows for our leaders to be treated with a certain amount of respect and to be taken care of in a certain way,” Jack said.
He added: “We see a lot of our leaders getting sick and people think that as leaders they make a lot of money, no they don’t. In the bigger scheme of things, they really don’t and so sometimes they sacrifice their health and of course, once you are in that kind of leadership position, you also sacrifice a lot of your finances; because people come to you every day for something and so by the time they leave government, they really don’t have much.
“There must be a way of taking care of them as civilised democracies do, because a lot of time you really cannot find a job after serving, especially if your party is out of government, nobody hires you and therefore, how do you live?